Delivering the 2011 Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture at Rhodes House, Advocate George Bizos SC - lawyer for Nelson Mandela for over a half a century - yesterday paid a warm and memorable tribute to Bram Fischer QC (Orange Free State & New College 1931), who defended Mr Mandela and others when on trial for their lives, and who himself died in imprisonment in 1975.
Mr Bizos served with Bram Fischer in the defence teams for Nelson Mandela and others in the Treason Trial of 1956-61 and in the Rivonia Trial of 1963-64, and Mr Bizos then served as a member of the defence team for Bram Fischer when he was in turn on trial.
Mr Bizos's lecture gave a vivid account of these and surrounding events, and was received with rapturous applause by a capacity audience.
In introducing Mr Bizos, the Warden of Rhodes House, Dr Donald Markwell, said that it was 'a lecture in memory of one of the great lawyer heroes of the struggle against apartheid, to be given by another of the great lawyer heroes of that historic struggle for justice'.
He said that the names of George Bizos and Bram Fischer were 'unbreakably linked with each other and with that of Nelson Mandela', who was in turn unbreakably linked with Rhodes House through the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.
The Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture is jointly organised by Oxford's African Studies Centre and Rhodes House. The organising committee is chaired by Dr Nic Cheeseman.
The 2012 Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture will be given on 26 January 2012 by Justice Edwin Cameron (South Africa-at-Large & Keble 1976), who was mentioned at yesterday's lecture - along with Bram Fischer, Rex Welsh (Transvaal & Oriel 1941), and Laurie Ackermann (Cape Province & Worcester 1954) - as among Rhodes Scholar lawyers active in the struggle against apartheid and continuing efforts for human rights.
For the Warden's introduction to the lecture, paying tributes to George Bizos and Bram Fischer, please click here.
For a copy of the brochure produced to mark the 2011 Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture, please click here.
For the audio recording of Mr Bizos's lecture, including Dr Markwell's introduction, please click here. (It may take a little time to download.)
To view an online gallery of photographs from this event, please click here.
The photograph on the right, taken after the Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture, shows -
beneath a photograph of Nelson Mandela taken on one of his several visits to Rhodes
House - Dr Mary Bizos, Dr Zola Skweyiya (High Commissioner for South Africa in London),
Lord Joffe (who served in the defence team at the Rivonia Trial also), Dr Donald Markwell
(Warden of Rhodes House), Advocate George Bizos SC, Dr Nic Cheeseman (chair of the
organising committee for the Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture), and Mr Kimon Bizos.
It is possible to access the video of the lecture below. Please note that the sound does not commence for the first few seconds.
All photography by James Howe and the video/audio recordings by Daniel Ostendorff.